Misteur Valaire – Bellevue

Misteur Valaire - Bellevue

Misteur Valaire – Bellevue

Those of you with reasonably long memories, ones that stretch back as far as the mid 1980s, will perhaps recall that amongst the glossy pop rock, goth punk and assorted MTV-led soft drinks anthems, a new musical instrument was making its presence known to the music listeners of 25 years ago : the sampler. It’s taken for granted today that anyone’s phone has a 36 track studio tucked away somewhere in its apps folders, and with plenty of effects and even instrumentation to use, but in the mid 80s the idea of a keyboard that could record any sound and reproduce it across as many octaves as the keyboard possessed was something more than a technological novelty. The sampler is most remembered for its use in some early House tracks but there were a few bands and producers around that did what they could with it, and would just add sound effects to their tracks if a (then relatively expensive) sampler wasn’t available.

The results of these journeys into sound were quite often novelty chart hits, or club tracks that crossed over. As for the bands that made these kinds of explorations their trademark, few people remember Sigue Sigue Sputnik today, or the band that I’ve decided Misteur Valaire sound a bit like, Big Audio Dynamite. It could also be said that Misteur Valaire’s influences include other French speaking acts such as Air, Bob Sinclar, Telex, perhaps one of my personal favourite French bands Programme, doubtlessly others. There is though a lot more to Misteur Valaire’s music than just some retro fuelled nostalgie de ces ironies du la huitiemes, and what they are very good at is making everything sound very light and breezy, style bar music the deejay could stick on in between Justin Timberlake and some actual 80s house tunes. Because it needs to be said that, on album number 4 from this Quebecois five piece, they’ve long since ironed out all the creases in their music and produced an album that while it isn’t overly polished and bass driven, has just the right amount of solidity at its core to keep the tempo fresh as Misteur Valaire do what they do best.

Bellevue isn’t just part of the soundtrack to anyone’s weekend socialising: it’s also great driving music and there’s an actual depth to the sequentialising and sampling that is obviously the work of one or two quite skilled technicians. And while I found myself making comparisons between Misteur Valaire’s music and that of some 80s musicians, where that similarity lies is in the group’s enthusiasm for their music and the equipment it is produced on. You may have thought that everyone is just a little blasé about technology these days, but no-one has told Misteur Valaire that it was all done 25 years ago. Enthusiasm always creates its own particular originality, and Bellevue succeeds as an album on more than one level.